RNC Chairman Reince Priebus told Donald Trump that if he did not make an effort to improve his failing campaign the party could abandon him. Priebus told Trump he’d be better off golfing in Florida than on the campaign trail, according to a devastating new report in Time.
The Republican leadership is panicking about its chances of keeping control of the Senate, while the GOP majority in the House is also coming into play. Trump is hurting several Republican senators re-election bids and his campaign is not raising enough money to help down ballot candidates.
Trump’s campaign experiences almost daily controversies, forcing Republicans to address issues that do nothing to help their own election bids. House Speaker Paul Ryan was yesterday forced to defend Trump’s Second Amendment comments instead of focusing on his own campaign, which is suddenly looking competitive. Republicans all over the country are seeing their poll numbers hit every time Trump opens his mouth.
Priebus warned the Trump campaign that there isn’t enough money to go around, largely thanks to Trump’s poor fundraising. The GOP usually relies on its presidential candidate to fill the party’s war chest. Presidential candidates are easily the most effective moneymakers, allowing party funds to be dispersed for other races. However, Trump has been drawing on Republican central funds in a way that is not sustainable.
With Trump consistently behind in the polls and a worrying number of red states trending blue, including Utah and Georgia, the GOP is trying to refocus its efforts (and cash) on crucial Senate races. While several GOP senators enjoy wafer thin poll leads, others are running neck-and-neck with their Democratic opponents. The Democrats only need to defeat a handful of Republicans to take back the Senate – a nightmare scenario for the RNC.
Republican leaders like Priebus are starting to see the presidential election as a lost cause and are moving to do damage control. The best way to limit the damage from Trump’s campaign is to abandon him completely. That’s a possibility the RNC is now seriously considering. One more unforced gaffe could force the GOP’s hand.